Child Custody Lawyers in Palatine

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Child Custody Lawyers in Palatine

What began as a single log cabin in the early 1830s has grown into the sixth-largest community in Chicagoland. Those first European-Americans started Palatine because they believed the area would be a good place to raise their families. The “average” American family looks a lot different today than it did two hundred years ago. However, regardless of their look, size, or shape, today’s families still have basically the same needs.

The compassionate Palatine child custody lawyers at Andrea Heckman Law clearly understand these needs. Most of the people on our professional team have children, and many of these families are blended families. So, we are in touch with the emotional and financial needs these families have on an ongoing basis, and we are here to provide long-lasting and cost-effective solutions.

Initial Determinations

Illinois family law, like the families themselves, has changed a lot in 200 years. Around the time George Ela built that first log cabin, women had almost no legal rights, whether they were married or divorced. Over the years, the pendulum swung completely in the opposite direction. In 2016, Illinois lawmakers passed a co-parenting law. This law presumes that children benefit most if they consistently spend meaningful time with both parents.

That mindset is substantially different from the old joint custody law. Back then, children “lived” with one parent and “visited” the other one. The child custody factors listed in Illinois law have changed accordingly. Some noteworthy ones include:

  • Parental Preference: Typically, parents express a preference without even knowing it. Although no one can attend every activity, every time something else is more important than a school play or a baseball game, these parents are indirectly indicating their preferred parenting time division.
  • Child’s Preference: Illinois law gives judges broad discretion to consider a child’s preference regardless of age. However, judges always have the last word in this area. And, experienced family law judges can easily tell when a parent pressures a child into making a choice.
  • Current Living Arrangement: Usually, by the time a parent files legal divorce paperwork, the spouses have been separated for several months, or even several years. Even if the informal time-sharing arrangement has significant problems, most judges would rather keep it in place. Many times, the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.
  • Co-Parenting Ability: Illinois law does not expect ex-spouses to be friends, or even to be friendly. However, it does expect them to work together where the best interests of their children are concerned. If a parent refuses to compromise and instead contests every inch of legal ground, many judges assume these individuals would not be good co-parents.

In contested cases, most judges order social service investigations. The social worker’s custody and visitation recommendation is not technically binding on the court. But most judges give it a lot of consideration.

Subsequent Modifications

The final child custody order is not set in stone. When circumstances change later, the orders need to change as well, in accordance with the aforementioned factors. 

Remarriage and relocation are among the most common grounds for parenting time modification actions. Most divorced spouses remarry. Remarriage itself is not ground for modification, even though all blended families are not The Brady Bunch. However, if the new spouse has a history of domestic violence convictions or the children have extreme problems fitting in, the judge could alter a custody arrangement. The relocation rules in Illinois are rather complex. In a nutshell, most judges approve short distance or agreed relocations. Long-distance or contested moves are usually another matter. 

When circumstances change, even slightly, it is necessary to get changes in writing. Side agreements are always unenforceable in family court.

Connect with an Experienced Cook County Attorney

Courts make parenting time decisions on an ongoing basis. For a free consultation with an experienced child custody lawyer in Palatine, contact Andrea Heckman Law, Ltd. Virtual, home, and after-hours visits are available.

Contact our office to arrange for a free initial consultation and review of your case.


Andrea Heckman

Managing Attorney

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Please contact our law office in Rolling Meadows for legal assistance with divorce, child custody, or visitation issues. We serve clients in the Chicago metropolitan area who need the help of an experienced and dedicated family law attorney.

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